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  • Last night, I went upstairs to go to bed, turned off all the lights and noticed a faint glow from downstairs. I had forgotten to turn off the Christmas tree (I think for the first time this season.). I sighed, because I was very tired and eager to go to bed and was running late. Keith was already asleep, after working two twelve-hour days.

    I walked down the stairs slowly (I move slowly these days, especially when I'm tired and/or sore.) As the tree sat alone in the dark, it was faintly illuminated by large dimly colored lights, and I had a sudden memory of myself as a young adult, when my children were small, sitting in the dark by the tree after they'd gone to bed, feeling happy, peaceful and joyous to have that moment of bright lights and colors in the darkness, and looking forward to the pleasure on my children's faces when they opened their gifts.
  • I felt sad that that time in my life was gone. A touch of melancholy. These memories and thoughts attended me as I walked down the stairs, and I remembered my own excitement as a child, waiting for Christmas morning.

    When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I stood gazing at the large softly lit colored fluorescent bulbs. A legacy from Keith's family, they are 70 years old and haven't been available for years. I studied the battered, ancient artificial tree, remembering the sadness and joy that came with it, how the girls and I bought it after my husband and their father left (a different story). Every year, more and more of the once thick needles fall off. A twinge of sadness.
  • I bent to touch the switch that would turn off the lights, leaving me stranded in near total darkness (I had drawn the curtains, so very little outside light was coming in and I had no other lights on in the house). I pressed the switch and stood up, and to my surprise, the bulbs were all still glowing dimly. They had no perceivable color, just a faint grey light, but it was utterly magical. I stood in the dark and watched them slowly fade, the ghost of Christmas past.

    The dim but clearly visible light reminded me of the joy of foxfire, my several intense experiences with that magical light.

    I've seen large fluorescent tubes retain a glimmer of light like that, but wasn't thinking of it. It doesn't matter too much that there is a scientific explanation, though I am always interested in scientific explanations. But what matters most was the intensity of the experience. How suddenly alive and awake I felt, how I was touched with quiet joy even in the fading of the light.
  • Then I remembered that not only does light sing, but darkness also sings, something I sometimes forget. I walked up to bed in the dark, singing with it, silently, in my heart, so as not to wake my sleeping husband.
  • *
    I've had a series of "wu-wei" moments, or mini-awakenings, these last two days, and, knock on wood, in spite of pain and fatigue, I feel more like myself.
    *
  • I am still having trouble getting on the internet--I think I need to get my computer repaired (or replaced). :(

    Image: the central part of this image came from here. You have to scroll down to see and read about it. I added the decorations around it. I do have pictures of our lights. But my filing system is abominable, and I have other obligations. Forgive me my time away; at the moment, it cannot be helped.

    This story is the third in a series of "personal essays" on "magic" written in the past two days, but I absolutely cannot take the time to publish them all right now, and this one was the most nearly ready. So, if you see the others, they will be out of order. I apologize.

    Some of you know I am currently wearing a heart monitor for tachycardia and arrhythmia. You might ask, what is the symbolic significance of the heart monitor in my life? It seems odd and full of symbolism and synchronicity that since I’ve been wearing the heart monitor, I’ve been having this delightful series “heart-felt” experiences. (This comment relates back to the earlier but as of yet unposted stories.)

    *

    From last night, January 7, 2016.
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